Friday, June 12, 2015

Adventures in Paper Piecing

Let me start out by admitting that my paper piecing skills are actually limited.  I love the precision and perfect points that can be achieved with this method of piecing but my internal struggle has been that feels wasteful.  One of the first things I tried to piece was the Marine's Star I found on Quilter's Cache.  I tried several times to piece it but no matter what I tried I kept coming up short somewhere.


I then searched around online to see if anyone had any advice on how to figure out what size to cut fabric so that you are covering the shape you are trying to cover.  My searches for the most part turned up empty.  I guess I was looking for instructions would say something like cut "x" amount of squares/rectangles in whatever size.  Isn't that what we normally get when we cut fabric for a pattern?

Recently, I was asked to help with a project that would require me to work on the paper pieced blocks.  Sadly I had the most experience with paper piecing; or possibly they suckered me into doing them.  Since the fabric I was using belonged to someone else I wanted to waste as little as possible or at least make sure I cut a big enough piece on the first whack.  My solution was to cut squares and rectangles at least a 1/2 to 1/4 inch bigger than what I needed.

So for this particular piece I cut a rectangle that was 3.5 by 4 inches.  

The next part that I found tricky was lining up the the pieces to make sure that I had them covering the magical sewing line.  I would hold them up to the light make sure they were where they needed to be and somehow manage to have them move before I could get them to the machine and sew it. Have I mentioned how much I love paper piecing?

I finally came up with a solution to my problem.

By placing a straight pin at the end of the two lines, when I flipped the piece over I knew exactly where the line I needed to cover was.

Ta da!  Then if I needed to I could fold the piece over and see if the space was covered.  So far this method has worked for me.  I always know where my line is.

My new blogger friend Ashley over at Crafty Ashley B shared a recent post from Crazy Mom Quilts on paper piecing with me.  The post talks about using templates to ensure that you are cutting your pieces the correct sizes.  Though it might take a bit more time, I think I could definitely cut down on wasted fabric using her method.  The next time I have a paper piecing project I will absolutely give it a try.

If you have any paper piecing tricks please feel free to share them with me.  I love my adventures in quilting and love to learn as much as I can. 

Oh on a side note:

The pin idea was totally Oliver's.  He just couldn't take me grumbling anymore.


Sandra Walker said...

Oh I hear you! However, here is an awesome tutorial:
and her snowflakes are to die for as well! I made several. I also use a business card to fold the paper back on itself and trim that seam allowance before sewing to 1/4". The angles throw everything off, so ya, you're going to waste more fabric than with regular piecing.

Tish Stemple said...

Thanks you for sharing :) I tried the link for the freezer paper foundation piecing, but it says the post is no longer available :( I'll check again. I did find the snowflakes...they are beautiful. Might have to make that a winter project.

Crafty Ashley B said...

I'm glad you've discovered a technique that works for you!

Sarah@123quilt said...

I love using cutting templates when paper piecing! It makes things so much easier.

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